The Telefile
<i>Parenthood</i>: The Best and Worst Braverman Pairings in “Limbo”

My favorite episode of Parenthood so far this season. "Limbo" was funny and sharp and emotional and, for most of us who aren't as functional as the Bravermans all the time, very relatable during that dinner table blowup scene. In addition to being all of those things, "Limbo" actually moved the storyline along for several characters, including Joel and Julia who inched a little bit closer to reconciliation. While "Limbo" technically centered around the drama caused by Baby Aida's christening (that Baby Aida, always starting problems), let's be honest, it was all about Drew and Amber getting totally stoned together. I could have watched that for the entire hour. Here are the best and worst Braverman pairings for the best episode of Season 5 to date, "Limbo":

Best: Drew and Amber
This one is a given as Drew and Amber were the MVPs of the episode. After getting upset about how that common tart Natalie slept with his dopey, cashew butter-stealing roommate Berto (who I just now realized was the dopey kid in The Descendants), Drew showed up at the equally bummed-out Amber's (she's still, understandably, devastated over Ryan's departure) for tea and sympathy. Or, in this case, booze and weed and ice cream and sympathy. (I gotta say, their way is better.) The only problem is, in the midst of their getting tanked, Drew and Amber forgot they had to go to a Braverman family dinner. In addition to being paranoid (Amber was convinced her grandfather had died) and wrongfully quoting Star Wars, it was painfully obvious they were stoned. The results were, of course, hilarious. All of these hijinks lead to Amber and Drew deciding to live together at her trendy loft. Oh man, I smell some wacky adventures for these two. It smells like weed.

Best: Joel and Julia
If Drew and Amber were the comic relief for "Limbo," Joel and Julia were the emotional backbone. Their storyline has been the most compelling one all season. Joel and Julia were asked to be Aida's godparents, but fearing it will be too awkward for everyone, Crosby asks him to step down, which he gracefully does. It upsets Julia to no end that Joel wouldn't fight to be part of their family anymore. "This is a loss for me," she explained to him, and Joel half-heartedly assured her that it wasn't the case. (Though, if he heard Sidney's incessant whining, he might want to really reconsider.) Turns out, this was a job for Zeek to handle. He shows up at Joel's sad bachelor pad and bluntly asks, "What the hell are you doing?" When Joel lamely answers he's "trying to figure things out" Zeek throws in the emotional knockout punch, telling him, "When I walked Julia down the aisle and I gave her to you I was so proud and so sure of the man I gave her to. I made a vow to support her and I took you on as a son." Boof. And wouldn't you know, it worked? Joel showed up to the baptism, which made Julia smile for the first time in weeks. While I still think these two should split (I know, I'm heartless, but the show could use this dynamic) I think it's far better if they do it amicably.

Best: Crosby and Everyone Else
Poor Crosby. He was not only thrown into the Braverman lion's den, but Renee's lion's den as well. After Renee insisted that Aida have a baptism so that the baby doesn't wind up in a "state of limbo," despite the fact that neither Crosby nor Jasmine really believe in that, he obliges her rather than deal with it. She insists on throwing a brunch, which upsets Camille for some reason, so she decides to throw a dinner. So now Aida's baptism has turned into an extravaganza with more drama thought imaginable. Crosby has to deal with the fallout from asking Joel to step down (Julia whines to her brother, "Did he even ask about me?"); the fallout from Adam realizing he's a second draft pick for godfather; and just the general Braverman craziness. In the best scene of the season, all of the Bravermans unloaded on each other at the baptism dinner ("A good time at the Bravermans," Jasmine's brother hilariously sighed) and I honestly wish there were more scenes like this on this show. Of course, everything was resolved by the end of the episode, and Crosby came out relatively unscathed in an awesome wine-colored suit.

Worst: Sarah and Max
You'd be hard-pressed to pair two more frustrating, irritating characters on Parenthood than Sarah and Max. So pairing them in a battle was the reason the Volume Down button was invented. Max got frustrated and had a meltdown because Sarah wouldn't let him use the printer at the photo studio. Sarah was curt with him and selfish because she found her career of the week and wasn't going to let Max get in the way of her "dream." No one was in the right here and, even worse, it was an utterly pointless storyline. Max eventually got his way and Sarah was taught a lesson by Hank about Max's behavior, something she was already pretty aware of. While Max has an excuse, Sarah has none. When she tried to lecture Adam and Kristina about how to raise their son with Asperger's, was there seriously anyone left watching this show that could stand her? What a wretched person. How Adam and Kristina didn't stay mad at her longer is beyond me.

Worst: Adam and Kristina
I don't necessarily think Adam deserves to be here, but since he's a married team with Kristina (sorry to upset you, Julia), but what the hell was up with Kristina this week? Not only did she roll her eyes at Adam's hilarious dinner joke ("We're having Gwyneth Paltrow's roasted chicken"…."What is she supposed to eat for dinner?" That's gold!) but she definitely overreacted about the way Sarah "treated" Max. I don't think she treated Max poorly; she was just the self-centered, oblivious brat she always is. Plus, she let Nora freely pick her nose during Aida's baptism, which was just gross.

Worst: Camille and Renee
Mother-in-laws, amiright? Turns out a lot of pouting and sanctimonious declarations can get you what you want. Renee wanted a baptism for Aida, for religious reasons and got one, while Camille wanted a separate Braverman celebration, out of guilt, and got one, all while looking annoyed at the very people they were torturing. They may have been grateful in the end (Renee even mouthed a "thank you" to Crosby) but as Adam put it, these things are all about the moms. Just would have been nice if said moms weren't so insufferable about getting what they wanted without, you know, asking what their kids wanted.

Watch the full episode here:




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